Our copies arrived in the post yesterday and we immediately settled down to watch Hour of the Wolf. It's not a fuck-up, but it's not one of his best. The demons are fine so long as you're not quite sure whether they're real people or not, but once they start walking on the ceiling and drawing blood they dwindle into famous monsters of filmland.
I guess we're all phobic about different things. Some people are scared of blood. They must be, or there wouldn't be so much of it in horror movies. I'm not. When the lift doors open in the Shining and a tidal wave of the stuff comes roaring into the lobby I'm going, ho-hum- red stuff; not scary. It's physical, see- and while I'd rather not be maimed, the threat of physical violence isn't as deliciously scary as the threat of spiritual violence. A corporeal monster is just a thug in novelty make-up.
Keep it metaphysical and you've got me. Keep it mocking and taunting and needling and demanding. Bergman's best demons are the ones in Cries and Whispers and Fanny and Alexander. They're sad, lost ghosts. They can't do any physical damage, but they've no business being there. They threaten the collapse of our "reality" into a parallel universe where anything can happen.